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Ulster Assizes

Volume 91: debated on Monday 25 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he could state when last the Ulster winter assizes were held in the city of Londonderry, and in what other Ulster towns or cities have they since been held; and whether, considering that Londonderry has as good railway and other accommodation as any other town or city in Ulster, the step will be taken of holding the winter assizes this year in that city.

Perhaps I may be allowed to reply to this question. The winter assizes were last held in the city of Londonderry in the years 1891 and 1895; in the remaining years since the former date they have been held in Belfast and Omagh. In the selection of the venue for winter assizes the governing consideration is the effective, convenient and economical administration of justice. This depends on a number of changing circumstances which vary from year to year, so that it is impossible at this period to give the undertaking asked for in the question.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what are the special circumstances which render Belfast so favourable a venue?

I cannot do that in answer to a question, but if the hon. Member will raise the subject on the Estimates I shall be happy to give him the numerous reasons.